Computers with touch screens or more powerful tablets?.
Microsoft sees the future of computers with the touchscreen. Apple thinks the iPad is the future of computers. They both make technology evolve from two different starting points. They also represent two marketing strategies.
The future of computers is touch
Microsoft last operating systems had serious problems. They had to rethink a lot of things, which led to the release of Windows 10 on September 30, 2014. They consolidated touchscreens in computers. It seems the OS could find some stability. Consumers have embraced the possibilities of touch. The hardware makers have developed multiples options to take advantage of it. Even Microsoft itself has launched computers.
On October 26, 2016, Microsoft presented the Surface line. It was the first time that I could feel that Microsoft impressed the press and the public with a new product. The star was a desktop computer with a big 28-inch touch display. They also showed the Surface Dial, a new way to interact with the content.
It is a niche product. It is quite expensive; it starts at 2,999 dollars. Perhaps they will not sell a lot of them. I think it is not the intention, either. It is an aspirational product. It is for minorities. They targeted at designers, marketers, and creatives. They are a small group, but they are influential.
It helps to consolidate the OS system. It shows to other hardware makers what they can do with Microsoft.
The Surface line carves a path. It is a guide to where Microsoft as a company wants to go. It is how they envision the future of computers.
Everybody copies Apple
All the computer makers copy Apple products. It is refreshing to see that Microsoft makes something different. They purpose something new, a clear alternative. Apple and Microsoft are leading two ways to interpret the future of computers.
It is a shame that Microsoft copies the communication. The style, the tone, the aesthetics are similar to Apple. Even the voice over in the videos reminds Apple. Microsoft has done the most difficult, a fantastic new technology. They also have a coherent and well-structured marketing strategy. They should not copy the communication.
Touch, conviction or need
Apple introduced Touch in phones and tablets. That has grown to become the standard. Some emerging countries missed the PC revolution. The smartphones are the only computers they know. Kids have grown with touch devices as their main way to interact with the world.
Mouse and keyboard have become a tool for some people in some circumstances only. They are not the center of technology anymore. We still need them for some tasks and some professions. Phones and Tablets are evolving fast. However, there are a lot of things that they cannot do. So, we still need computers.
Microsoft makes the PC evolve towards the phone. With the Surface line, they have demonstrated it is a progression that makes sense.
Is that strategy a conviction or need? In fact, they have no other option. Microsoft gave up with phones and tablets. They missed that boat. Microsoft is still the primary operating system for desktop computers. They invest in their strengths and push the market from that point.
After the burden of the previous OS, they needed to rethink it from the beginning. Evolution could not be enough; they needed that revolution.
Touchscreen computers. The limitations
To touch the screen is easy and intuitive. At the same time, it also has a lot of disadvantages:
- It makes the laptop more expensive
- They have more battery consumption
- They need to make the computer thicker and heavier
- It is uncomfortable. You can hold your arm for a while, in a particular case. But it does not make sense as the only way to interact with the information. There is the need for a keyboard and a mouse. Introducing a third option sometimes adds confusion.
The future of computers are tablets
Apple says that the iPad is the future of computers. They are the leaders in that segment. They have the best position in the market of the high-end phones, too. They can build the future of computers from that base. That is something that Microsoft cannot do.
On the other side, they make Macs evolve, too. They add some features from the mobile operating system.
Desktops and laptops are becoming specialized niche products. They are for specific tasks or professions. They are more expensive than previous models.
The two worlds are getting closer in each iteration. But the iPads develop faster. They can do things that a while ago only computers could do. They also are quite affordable.
Apple does not need to incorporate touch to computers because they have iPads. They can concentrate their energy on making that platform evolve. Tablets and phones market shares are growing, macs and pcs are shrinking.
To add touch to computers represent a tremendous effort. They should rethink from zero Mac OS. They do not need to make a revolution. Evolution is more than enough.
The future of computers by Google
Google is in the middle of that war.
They have Chromebooks. They designed them to work connected to the Internet. Most of the application and data is in the cloud. They are affordable and easy to use. On the other side, they cannot run many third party applications like Illustrator or Photoshop. They need a reliable Internet connection. They are niche products. They could be perfect for some students but impossible to use for a lot of professionals.
Google has Android, too. It seems clear that it is their central platform and it is growing fast. It is where all the new things are happening.
Some Chromebooks have a touch screen. Some models are able to run Android apps.
Google mobile devices and laptops are getting closer and closer. Google Chrome incorporate some of the features of the mobile operating system. Android is becoming more powerful. It is capable of things that were only possible in computers a while ago. It is clear that mobile is growing faster. Android is collecting more users, and the technology is improving faster.
The future of computers is specialization. They can incorporate some of the innovations of phones and tablets. They will be necessary for many tasks, but they are becoming niche products. They are just for a minority of people in particular moments and professions.
Phones and tablets can do more things every day. They are eating the field of computers.
Apple is making both universes grow. They incorporate what they learn in one field to apply to the other. They think it is good to maintain them separate to take profit of the advantages of each device. At least, for now.
Microsoft does not have phones or tablets. Or their presence is not relevant. They have to make more aggressive moves to make the computers evolve. That is all they have. They specialize and try to be strong in their field.
This is part of a series dedicated to the future of computers. For more detailed information see the other posts: